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An indigenous tribe and its creativity

Mochila bag / May 18, 2016

The Wayuu tribe is an ethnic clan that inhabits the protected desert area between Venezuela and Columbia in South America, more particularly in the Guajira Peninsula. The desert land that is inhabited by the tribe is known for its harsh climatic conditions. But the fact that this tribe is a self-sufficient tribe that hardly depends on outside civilization for any of its needs, says plenty on its practices.

The tribe lives in a settlement of about five to six huts called the “Rancherias”. It is a matrilineal tribe which means it traces its ascendency through its female lineage. The Wayuu women are extremely hardworking and traditional expert weavers. It is a secret art that is handed down from one generation to another and also holds spiritual significance to the Wayuu household.

A popular legend has it that long ago; the Wayuu women were taught this art by a spider called Wale Keru who taught the women how to convert their intricate drawings into a colorful Mochila.

Every Mochila has a story to say, if the listener cares to listen. The weaver weaves a story into the bag, one that talks of the Wayuu way of life, its fears, its gods and the natural elements. The elements of the cosmos and nature are weaved into the bag. The striking color combination and the rich texture of the bag is proof of their excellent craftsmanship. Weaving a Mochila means wisdom, intelligence and creativity to the tribe.

The women of the tribe undoubtedly give their one hundred percent in making a Mochila which receives great love and care all during the making process. While the woman can work all day making a Mochila, the love for it is so great that probably they do not feel the toil at all.

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